Google has revealed that close to 1.5 million people are using free WiFi at 19 railway stations in India where the project has gone live. Google and RailTel are targeting close to 100 stations under the free WiFi scheme for 2016.
In a blogpost, Google wrote, “Last week we rolled out the network at four of India’s largest stations – Sealdah, Lucknow Jn, Lucknow and Gorakhpur Jn and we are delighted to share that 1.5 million Indians are now enjoying the high-speed broadband experience across 19 stations.”
The post adds, “While we’re only at approximately 20% of the roll out schedule for this year, the response has been phenomenal…We saw 100,000 users connect to the network within a week of launch at Mumbai Central and as we started rolling out the network at more stations, we saw exponential jump in the consumption of the network.”
Google’s data shows users tier 2 cities are consuming more data, and usage in Bhubaneshwar overtook Mumbai central within a day of the launch. Google says it is seeing similar usage patterns emerge in tier 2 cities like Patna, Jaipur, Vishakhapatnam, and per capita consumption of data in tier 2 cities far exceeds the consumption in tier 1 cities.
Google and IAMAI’s data also showed the average consumption per user on the network is 15 times the data they would consume on a 3G pack in a day.
The primary usage for Google’s free WiFi is infotainment, followed by online job search. Google reveals in Bhubaneswar and Pune students come to the stations to look for up information related to educational courses, exam results, downloading software and upgrading their phone apps.
Google’s first launched the free WiFi scheme at Mumbai Central. At the end of 2016, Google will evaluate the project to see how it will expand the free Wi-Fi scheme further.
The global search giant has tied up with Railtel, the PSU which owns a Pan-India optic fiber network exclusively on railway track. The PSU has laid out over 45,000 kms of optic fibre networks across the country, which Google uses for its Wi-Fi.
Google’s idea with the WiFi is to ensure wide coverage and high capacity and ensure maintain broadband quality experience for users.
The search giant expects over 10 million Indians to use its free WiFi service at railway stations by the end of 2016.